6 Month Recap

This blog has been neglected for months on end now.

In part that was because we bought a house. A house we love, but that requires a lot of our time as we organize, make decisions about furniture, art, and landscaping, etc. We worry about mowing the lawn, sprinkler system maintenance, gutters, A/C units, and the like. And today I bought a shovel and took care of the snow. More than anything we feel very blessed to have such a beautiful home in a neighborhood and community we love.
House

I also launched a non-profit with a friend, and that has consumed a lot of my time. But it’s been exciting to be a part of something I feel so passionate about. There’s something incredibly energizing about that.

AMW

This summer we visited Orange County to visit Sharon and her beautiful family. Naomi also arranged for us to take a sweet Art Deco tour in downtown LA.

LA Art Deco

My baby brother graduated with a degree in Economics from Utah State. Bryce loves having an Aggie in the family.

Richie Graduation

We also went to Seattle, where we got to spend some time with my siblings, and Vancouver, which is an incredible city (and those beautiful sunsets (photoshop not required!)).
Space Needle

Discovery Park, Seattle

Granville Island

Vancouver Sunset

Vancouver Sunset

Followed by a trip on Bryce’s birthday to Yosemite with friends to hike Half Dome. It was spectacular!

Half Dome

I also got to make a visit to Alaska again to visit family. There is no place on earth like Alaska. I should be there every summer.

Hurricane Turn Train

Bear Creek, Alaska

Whittier

In September we made quick run to Grand Teton and Yellowstone to catch some fall foliage. We were not disappointed.

Grand Teton

Oxbow Bend

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Yellowstone

Mesa Falls

And, in October, Bryce and I traveled to Japan to visit Bryce’s step-brother and his beautiful wife. Japan is a thousand times more incredible than I imagined, and I’d highly recommend a visit! And one of these days I’ll get around to blogging about the trip, or at least putting up some pics on Facebook.

Group

All in all it’s been a pretty incredible year and we feel incredibly blessed.

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Natura.

While attending DWR’s annual Bald Eagle Day in February, we learned that the DWR was going to host their first Loon Watch in early April.  Being that Bryce is a big fan of loons, we put the event on our calendar and made plans to attend.  The Loon Watch was held at Steinaker Reservoir outside of Vernal.  Rather than making a long day trip out of the event, we opted to make a weekend of it and camped a couple of nights at the reservoir. 

Though the event was not well attended by people, the loons came out in force – we saw upwards of 30! We also saw geese, osprey, herons, a variety of ducks, an oriole, red-winged blackbirds, and more.  Our coming all the way from SLC just to see the loons made it to the local paper, photo and all.  (See here.) We explored some backroads, visited Dinosaur National Monument, and wandered around Ouray National Wildlife Refuge. 

It was such a beautiful and relaxing weekend full of exploring. We’ll definitely try and get back this fall to visit a few more sites that we missed. And, what a difference a real camera makes!

One of the most beautiful sunrises I’ve ever seen – and it was repeated the next morning!
If you look closely you can see some loons on the water.
Sunrise over Steinaker

The Loons!
Loons attempting to get airborne

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Munching on crayfish
Loon eating crayfish

Petroglyphs at Dinosaur National Monument
Anatomically correct petroglyphys at Dinosaur National Monument

Petrogylphys at Dinosaur National Monument

A few of the cows in the herd that took over the road.
Traffic jam

Path to the reservoir
Steinaker Reservoir

Late afternoon sun along the reservoir
Sunset near Steinaker Reservoir

Sunday Morning Sunrise
Sunrise at Steinaker

Yellow-headed blackbirds
A tree full of yellow-headed blackbirds

Sandhill Cranes
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Horse running through Ouray National Wildlife Refuge
Horse running through Ouray National Wildlife Refuge

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Hey Baby, Let’s Go to Vegas.

This weekend Bryce and I headed on a spur-of-the-moment trip to the heat of Las Vegas. We rolled into town around 6:30 pm, and the temperature gauge read a perfect 88 degrees. We headed out for some fine dining and enjoyed strolling along the shimmery night lights of the town. We popped into the Bellagio to look at the Conservatory and Botanical Garden in the atrium, and we were not disappointed. The smell was divine as was the sight of thousands of tulips, hyacinths, irises, poppies, daffodils, and calla lilies. Saturday morning we took our books and sunscreen and headed for the pool — the sole purpose of my visit. It did not disappoint. We followed up the pool time with another Vegas favorite, shopping.

Bellagio Flowers

After visiting with some friends we made the executive decision to bail on a second night in Vegas and opted to head for Boulder City, which turned out to be a great choice. The sun was setting as we got to Boulder City, and after an episode or two of the Big Bang Theory, we decided to walk the streets and see what there was to see. The small downtown was delightfully charming! The sidewalks were lined with interesting sculptures and there were galleries, antique shops, cafe’s, restaurants, etc. People were out walking, and really good live music seemed to emanate from every other restaurant or bar we passed. We ended up eating at Dillingers and enjoying a lively “hillbilly jazz” duo called the All Togethers. The next morning, after a leisurely stroll around town again, and into the now open antique shops, and a delicious brunch, we drove out to Hoover Dam, taking in the beautiful view of Lake Mead along the way.

Hoover Dam was beautiful, and the Art Deco style of the exterior elements was right up my alley. The intake buildings, the bas-reliefs, the sentinels, the elevators, the fonts, etc. Perfection – all of it. Sadly, due to our dilly dallying earlier in the day we didn’t have time for the dam tour, but next time we’ll make a point to take it. We did, however, take time to walk across the newly opened (2010) Mike O’Callaghan–Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge, the second highest bridge in the United States, which provided incredible views of the dam and surrounding areas.

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Mike O'Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge

Sentinel at Hoover Dam.

Art Deco Intake Towers at Hoover Dam

Hoover Dam

On our way home, I got fairly sick, which added a couple of emotionally draining hours to the already long drive. I’m grateful for a wonderfully patient and kind husband. He didn’t complain when I slept, or balled up in the passenger seat and cried. He rubbed my back, stroked my arm, and let me know everything was going to be okay — and I believe him — even if it’s going to take me some time to get there. I hope no trip again ends the way this one did, but I’m grateful to have him by my side. He’s got my back, figuratively, and literally, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Hope you all had a lovely weekend/St. Patrick’s Day!

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Lovers Gonna Love.

On this, the “official” day for celebrating love, I am again grateful for the reminder of all the love I have in my life. As I have mused the last couple of years, as seen here and here, life, in the love department, has been exceptionally kind to me. I have incredible parents who blessed our home with their love of learning. They’ve guided and supported me, and I am grateful for their love and for their faith in me. My siblings are the very best. My sisters truly are my very best friends in the whole world. I don’t know what I’d do with out them. They know me and love me anyway – doesn’t get much better than that! My brothers are kind and they know how to make me laugh. It’s been a pleasure to watch them grow from boys into the wonderful men they are. My three younger siblings are also incredible people. Any one of their smiles can light up a room and our entire family is more complete for having them in it.

My brothers-in-law are good men, and endlessly talented. My sister-in-law is likewise talented, and beautiful, inside and out. I now have three handsome nephews and one gorgeous niece, and each of them adds so much happiness to my life. I’m excited to see what life has in store for them. I have amazing grandparents, in-laws, step-siblings, cousins, aunts, and uncles. This post really could go on endlessly. I have the best friends a girl could ever ask for. I never cease to be amazed by their kindness, their talents, intellect, and thoughtfulness. I’m grateful for their loyalty and continued presence in my life. I hope each of them is a part of my life for many, many more years to come.

Last, but not least, I am grateful to be head over heels in love with my best friend. Bryce has profoundly blessed and enriched my life. He is quiet, kind, thoughtful, and gentle. He is smart and observant and I love all the many things I learn from him. He is romantic and sweet (hello dancing on the rooftop at sunset!). His love for the world around him inspires me, and I’m grateful for the perspective he gives me. I especially love his insatiable desire to explore every nook and cranny this beautiful world has to offer – and his willingness to include me in all of that adventuring. His love gives me strength and peace and I look forward to each day we have together.

Happy Love Day!
Musical Heart

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Per Semper

December was an incredible month for so many reasons. There were beautiful Christmas concerts, elegant parties, our nephew Drake’s blessing, sledding and skating, lots of time with family, and all the other traditional trappings of the season. It was particularly awesome because Bryce and I celebrated our one year anniversary (where does the time go??). We played hooky from work and hit the slopes. It was a beautiful bluebird day and we had a great time, and capped it off with spa time and delicious sushi.  The crowning event though was a few days later when we were sealed in the St. George Temple, surrounded by our family. It was a beautiful experience to be kneeling across from Bryce, wearing my mother’s wedding dress, and making promises to him and to God. The power and the peace that I felt were like nothing I’d experienced before. And, it was nice to make our “forever” official.  Also, a major shout out to Alison for the enormous last minute favor of altering my mom’s wedding dress for me — it was a pretty special to be able to wear it that day and I know my mom was touched. You’re the best, Ali!

It’s corny and I almost feel apologetic even saying it, but it is a wonderful thing to be swimming in love and drowning in bliss.  I look forward to the infinite days together that lay ahead of us, Bryce!

LoveSt. George TempleIMG_3272

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Natus.

In the past year, our family has added three members. Bryce joined us in December, Amelia in April, and in late October, we got baby Drake. I’m amazed at how instantaneously one cannot imagine life without these recent additions. Without further adieu, here’s our hunky chunk, Drake!

The Clan Meets Drake.

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The U.C Heads to the O.C.

In October I got to go to California to visit my sister, her husband, and their beautiful baby girl, Amelia. As luck would have it, my other sister, her husband, and my nephews, decided to visit at the same time, and we had a great time hanging out in the warm-ish California air. It had been in the 90’s in the weeks and days leading up to my visit, and again in the days that followed, but no such luck when I got there. Being the good sport that I am, I didn’t let the crappy weather ruin the grand trip. The trip got off to a great start when I texted Sharon that I had landed, which I discovered a minute later wasn’t the case. I’m still unclear as to why I thought we had landed, when we hadn’t, but Kirsten and Sharon enjoyed mocking me to no end when they pulled up at the curb to pick me up. It was fun to be with just my sisters for a bit, and we had a great time driving to Sharon’s place, even though I assume most of the laughing was, as usual, at my expense. The rest of the weekend was spent at Downtown Disney, walking the beaches, dining with Cali friends, touring the San Juan Capistrano Mission, and snuggling with the kids. It was lovely and I hope it’s repeated in the near future!

I apologize for the weird formatting on this post, I have no idea what’s going on with WordPress these days.

Lego Beauty and the Beast. Amelia being ver wary of one of the street performers. Kirsten, Andrew, Cohen, and Holden at Huntington Beach. Huntington Beach Sharon, Kory, and Amelia at the San Juan Capistrano Mission. San Juan Capistrano Mission IMG_2290 At the Mission.
Sharon and I being silly.

Saying goodbye at the airport.Waking up just in time to give me one last smile!

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